Oconee's Prominent Arts Community Provides Entertainment For All... Oconee County is well-known throughout the region as a haven for talent. Artisans of pottery and blacksmithing, as well as paint, pen and other fine arts, find a tranquil environment from which to draw inspiration. Two very exciting events have occurred recently in support of this burgeoning arts community...the formation of the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation Inc., and the opening of Oconee County Civic Center. "Oconee County is well-known throughout the region as a haven for talent."
The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation Inc. (OCAF) is an arts council dedicated to developing and coordinating programs and activities for all citizens. OCAF works with the professional arts community through arts and crafts festivals, classes for children and adults, workshops and seminars for artists, and musical and theatrical performances.
The Oconee County Civic Center is located adjacent to the new Oconee County High School On Hog Mountain Road. This 28,000 square foot facility houses a 500 seat performing arts theatre with an orchestra pit, stage and excellent acoustics; a 500 seat banquet/multipurpose area with a central atrium lobby and catering facility. Opened in December 1993, it is used for school functions, concerts, plays, forums, meetings, trade shows, conferences, banquets, and wedding receptions.
Local artisans show and sell their wares at a number of shops throughout the county. One of the most widely known is Happy Valley Pottery. Located nine miles from Watkinsville, this 34-acre farm features a studio, workshop and craft shop run by local artists. Happy Valley holds Open House in November and December and sponsors a mini-fair in June.
Proximity to Athens and the University of Georgia (UGA) significantly broadens the cultural arts opportunities available to Oconee County residents. A case in point is the State Botanical Garden. This "living laboratory" encompasses 313 acres of gardens and nature trails for the study, research and enjoyment of plants and nature. Its focal point is the Visitors' Center/Conservatory exhibiting tropical and semi-tropical plants and original artwork year-round. Native plants and diverse ecosystems line the five miles of nature trails, some of which parallel the Oconee River, while others extend into hardwood forests. Eleven specialty gardens delight visitors with botanical beauty.
The University of Georgia's Visual Arts Department is one of the nation's finest. The Georgia Museum of Art...the official museum of the state...has become one of America's most prestigious galleries due to its diverse and significant collections. The museum features a permanent collection, as well as visiting exhibitions and displays.
The Dance Department at UGA presents several fine programs each year featuring many styles of dance ranging from classical ballet and tap to ancient Korean dances and modern dance. Talented students perform under the tutelage of experienced faculty and visiting instructors from some of the best dance companies in the country.
The UGA School of Music offers excellent performances throughout the year, including presentations and recitals which are free and open to the public. Similarly, the UGA Drama Department brings well-known classics as well as contemporary productions to the stage through University Theatre Productions and the Georgia Repertory Theatre.
The Athens "music scene" has become internationally famous thanks to the success of rock groups such as R.E.M. and the B-52's. Additionally, there are numerous theatre groups, symphony orchestras, chamber music groups, brass bands, blue grass bands and an assortment of venues in which to enjoy them.
From fine arts to fine entertainment, appreciation of fine things is apparent in the vast activities available to Oconee County citizens.
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55 Nancy Drive P.O. Box 348 Watkinsville, GA 30677